May 22nd, 2020
I asked Claire where she would like to interview:
We’re sat in The Noose, a delightful looking hostelry perched jauntily on the edge of the aptly named Black Narrows. If by delightful you mean grime encrusted walls, ceilings and floors with a barman who’d sooner shoot you than serve you, then yes, delightful. This is where you can find Roshaven’s thief-catchers. They have an office at the top of the rickety stairs. The inn is quiet today, it’s not Thursday. On Thursday Yvette von Strunkle performs her weekly show. Then many rich and colourful words are shouted, often hoarsely, by short, hairy men in large overcoats who brought their own peanuts and drink copious amounts of the vilest liquor available.
If we’re lucky, we might get a glimpse of the Thief-Catcher’s in action. Ned Spinks is the chief, he wears a long brown coat that swirls impressively around his ankles and is nearly always accompanied by his second-in-command, Jenni the sprite. She has short, blondish hair and wears a dirty red coat. Her tail sticks out a little. She is the most powerful magical creature in Roshaven, bar her mother, Momma K, queen of the fae. The other catchers include Willow, a nymph; Sparks, a firefly and Joe, a young man with especially large ears. Together they fight crime, eat pizza from Gariboldi’s not Garibaldi’s, and keep Roshaven mostly safe. Mostly.
Laura Mae: What inspired you to enter the world of writing?
Claire Buss: I’ve always loved stories and reading, dreaming of being an author myself but it wasn’t until I took a series of writing workshops at my local library that I began to think about it more seriously and write actual books.
L: How long have you been writing for?
C: I started writing seriously in 2015.
L: What are you currently working on?
C: I am currently working on The Silk Thief, the second novel in my humorous fantasy world, Roshaven. The first was The Rose Thief and re-visit the same main characters – Ned Spinks, Chief Thief-Catcher and his second-in-command, Jenni the sprite. I’m also working on releasing my hopeful dystopia trilogy, The Gaia Collection, in one book which will be available in ebook and hardback so that’s pretty exciting!
L: Are there any books or authors who inspire your work?
C: Terry Pratchett’s was a huge inspiration for my humorous fantasy books. I enjoy good writing, no matter the genre and that is always inspiration to keep writing.
L: What has been the most challenging for you so far?
C: Finding enough time to write, publish and market my books as well as juggling being a stay-at-home mum. I suffer with a lot of mum-guilt.
L: What is your favorite writing trope? Least favorite?
C: My favourite is probably the hero’s journey. I don’t mind reading a well-established trope as long as the rules are followed and the author acknowledges the trope without descending into cliché.
L: Besides writing, what is it you like to do?
C: Haha – I wish I had time to do other things. I used to crosstitch and keep trying to get back into that when I have time. I also bake but again, not as much as I used to.
L: What would you say is your favorite book or series of all time? Why?
C: Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series because of the epic breadth, the adventure, the hero’s journey and the fantasy elements.
L: Are there any regrets you have or anything you wish you knew sooner?
C: It has definitely been a learning curve but I think I have actually quite enjoyed figuring out how to get from A to B. Learning as I’ve gone along has helped with my confidence, I think it’s a necessary journey for authors.
L: In a brief statement, have you self-published or traditionally published? What was your experience?
C: I am self-published. It’s hard work but rewarding.
L: What are you currently reading?
C: Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood.
L: What genre do you typically read?
C: My go-to genre is fantasy but I’ll read anything I like the look of and I belong to a real-life book club which encourages me to try different genres.
L: What does a typical day of writing look like for you? Any rituals or ‘must-haves’?
C: Haha – I’m afraid I don’t usually get a typical day. My son Leo is 6 and my little girl, Anabelle, is 2 so days tend to mapped out according to what they are up to i.e. school etc. I’ve adjusted my preferred working method to instead snatch bits of time here, there and everywhere in order to get everything done. I keep meticulous spreadsheets and schedule posts where possible. I have also reduced my daily writing target in an effort to have a more consistent output, seems to be working so far.
L: Any songs or type of music you need to listen to when you write?
C: Not especially. If I really want to zone in to writing then I’ll listen to classical music or movie soundtracks.
L: Where would you say you get most of your inspiration?
C: Everywhere! I’m inspired by real-life people, conversations, other books, tv and movies, music, random ideas I have as I’m falling asleep lol.
L: For aspiring writers out there, what would be the best advice you want them to know?
C: Never give up! Never surrender!
Claire Buss is an award-winning multi-genre author and poet based in the UK. She wanted to be Lois Lane when she grew up but work experience at her local paper was eye-opening. Instead, Claire went on to work in a variety of admin roles for over a decade but never felt quite at home. An avid reader, baker and Pinterest addict Claire won second place in the Barking and Dagenham Pen to Print writing competition in 2015 with her debut novel, The Gaia Effect, setting her writing career in motion. She continues to write passionately and is hopelessly addicted to cake.
The Rose Thief – Ned Spinks, Chief Thief-Catcher has a problem. Someone is stealing the Emperor’s roses. But that’s not the worst of it. In his infinite wisdom and grace, the Emperor magically imbued his red rose with love so if it was ever removed from the Imperial Rose Gardens then love will be lost, to everyone, forever. It’s up to Ned and his band of motley catchers to apprehend the thief and save the day. But the thief isn’t exactly who they seem to be, neither is the Emperor. Ned and his team will have to go on a quest defeating vampire mermaids, illusionists, estranged family members and an evil sorcerer in order to win the day. What could possibly go wrong?
Buy it here!
The Interspecies Poker Tournament: The Roshaven Case Files No. 27 – Ned Spinks, Chief Thief-Catcher, has a new case. A murderous moustache-wearing cult is killing off members of Roshaven’s fae community. At least that’s what he’s been led to believe by his not-so-trusty sidekick, Jenni the sprite. She has information she’s not sharing but plans to get her boss into the Interspecies Poker Tournament so he can catch the bad guy and save the day. If only Ned knew how to play!
The Interspecies Poker Tournament, Case 27 of The Roshaven Files, is a humorous fantasy novella following the adventures of Ned Spinks and Jenni, a prequel to The Rose Thief. If you loved Terry Pratchett’s Discworld, you’ll love Roshaven.
Buy it here!